Political and economical interests would be boring subjects unless one has the capability of transforming them into action movie with daily life drama to make it more colorful. The challenge is then to choose the right theme for the movie: which of the themes has the most profound impact towards the audience, will be the greatest interest to the director. To such extent, Michael Bay has done great job. Based on true events in Libya in 2012, his latest movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, can be considered as the best after Black Hawk Down made in 2001 by Ridley Scot. The difference is that Black Hawk Down has unsuccessful military operation at its core, while the Michael Bay’s is based on military attack towards US base; making it more dramatic cum heroic.
The story is started with Rone (James Badge Dale) picks up Jack Da Silva (John Krasinski) at Benghazi International Airport. Both are enlisted in the GRS, an elite military group, along with other four men with single purpose: giving military back up for illegal CIA operations in the volatile Libya. The situation fascinates them as soldier. However, when it comes to David Costabile, the Chief of the CIA in Benghazi, they can’t do anything but building more intense emotional relationship among the GRS members. It is only Rone who warns the Chief that there will be moment for him to take orders instead of giving orders to the GRS.
Rone and his men have the opportunity when the Chief puts protocols above saving the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher), who is being attacked by militias at his shelter located 1 mile from the CIA base. The attack costs the life of the ambassador eventually; and the GRS doesn’t have any choice instead of going back to the base without knowing the ambassador whereabout. To their horror, the militias surround the base and launch fierce attack towards the base using children and sheeps as their organic shield. The CIA agents in the base can’t do meaningful help, and they are poorly trained in facing physical attacks. The worse is that the Chief is still on insisting using protocols and asking for help to the government and other countries; he forgets that the operation is totally illegal. Rone, Jack and other GRS members work hand in hand, and they can’t rely on any back up. Tragically, the life of Rone ends when the back up has just arrived.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi has different nature from Black Hawk Down. Truly speaking, both are incomparable since they are different in terms of the stories. The soldiers are mostly family men who have to leave their family. No philosophical chats just like in the Black Hawk Down, but the situation is much more dangerous, more real, and there is no meaningful military back up. The soldiers perform brave actions naturally. The only help they get is just drone flying above; looking at their activities below. For those who embrace real-life combat situations, and the true characters of the CIA agents compared to real soldiers, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is the best choice. Some might say that the Black Hawk Down is better. However, if you consider more, 13 Hours also has nice sound effect.